The DAM Presents Preview of Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century (Photos)

The DAM Presents Preview of Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century (Photos)

The Denver Art Museum’s latest world-exclusive exhibition is here. Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century brings visitors an immersive exploration of stunning jewelry, timepieces, and precious objects.

At its media preview November 13, some of the show’s visionaries shared how it came to be.

"We wanted to do a special show, a historic show, that showed how Cartier shaped the ideas of style and glamour throughout the twentieth century," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. "We also wanted to focus on the craftsmanship and ask how something so small is so meticulously made?"

To focus on the history of the design house, Margaret Young-Sánchez, Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art and Brilliant curator, decided to focus on objects created between 1900 and 1975. "This was a period of tremendous change around the world, and this exhibition gives us an opportunity to look at the cultural shifts that happened during this important time in history."

"The title, Brilliant, does justice to Margaret Young-Sánchez's clever concept for this exhibition," said Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage Director of Cartier. "With her bold choices, she has chosen pieces that have rarely been shown to the public."

In addition to the more than 250 objects in the exhibition, the museum created a workshop within the exhibition that gives visitors a small taste of the actual Cartier workshop where jewelers, designers, stone-cutters, and others create. And the DAM transformed our studio space into a Jewelry Studio where visitors can tap into their imaginations and learn about jewelry making.

See the slide show below for images from the preview and watch our blog for more stories about the fascinating history of Cartier.

Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage Director of Cartier, discusses the exhibition with media.

Melora McDermott-Lewis speaks to reporters. Image on screen: Laurel leaf tiara. Cartier Paris, 1907. Platinum and diamonds. Qatar Museums Authority. Once owned by Princess Marie Bonaparte, great-granddaughter of Lucien Bonaparte (one of Napoleon's brothers).

Shadia Lemus, communications manager at the DAM, does an interview in Spanish with Telemundo.

Members of the media in Brilliant.

Necklace. Cartier Paris, special order, 1928. Platinum, diamonds, yellow and white zirconias, white topazes, synthetic rubies, smoky quartz, and citrine.

Brooch. Cartier Paris, 1951. Platinum, white gold, diamonds, and emeralds. Private collection. Necklace. Cartier London, 1938. Lengthened by Cartier Paris in 1963. Platinum, diamonds, and emeralds. Private Collection. Once owned by actress Merle Oberon. Cartier London, special order, 1932. Platinum, diamonds, and 143.23 emerald. Once owned by the Countess Granard. Bangle. Cartier Paris, 1937. Platinum and diamonds. Ear clips. Cartier London, 1934. Platinum, diamonds, and two 25-carat emeralds. Private collection.

One of the slides that greets visitors at the entrance to Brilliant.

A jeweler's desk with actual tools from the Cartier workshop.

Drawings for Cartier objects in the Workshop section of Brilliant. Design drawings from Cartier archives.

A sourcebook from the Cartier archives.

Carleen Brice edits the blog and On & Off the Wall, the member magazine for the Denver Art Museum. Carleen has been at the DAM since 2013. Her favorite part of Dior: From Paris to the World is the section called "Fields of Flowers."